Green anaconda

Eunectes murinus

SUBFAMILY

Boinae

TAXONOMY

Eunectes murinus Linnaeus, 1758, "America." OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Water boa; huilla, huilia, camoudi; French: Anaconda commun; German: Grosse Anakonda; Portuguese: Arigboia, boiuna, boicu, boiguacu, sucuri, sucuriju, sucurijuba, Spanish: Culebra de agua.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This is a giant, heavy-bodied, dark green boa with black spots. Even an average specimen, 10-15 ft (3-4.6 m) in length, appears immense because of its girth.

DISTRIBUTION

This species occurs in the Amazonian and Orinoco drainages from Columbia and Venezuela to eastern Bolivia and central Brazil. It also is known from Trinidad.

HABITAT

The green anaconda is associated strongly with watercourses, swamps, and other freshwater habitats.

BEHAVIOR

Anacondas are rarely found far from water. Feeding usually takes place in the water.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Anacondas typically lie in wait for prey at the water's edge. They are known to eat a wide variety of vertebrate prey, including monkeys, deer, peccaries, pacas, agoutis, birds, fish, caiman, and turtles.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Breeding usually occurs during the dry season. A group of males will court a receptive female, competing peacefully to copulate.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. So far as is known, the green anaconda exists in reasonable numbers throughout its range.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Anacondas seem to be largely unmolested by humans. They are not commonly harvested for meat, and throughout most of the range there is little or no harvest of skins. Small specimens are collected and exported for the live trade, but the species is not particularly popular in captivity, largely because of its size but in part because many specimens are foul-tempered. ♦

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